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Building Momentum

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Cement,

The writing is on the wall for ‘energy-intensive’ industries as the escalating impact of climate change is faced. It is an apt turn of phrase for a process industry that supports modern lifestyles – even the renewable energy revolution – but which creates a huge carbon footprint as a result.

Concrete is one of the most widely used materials on the planet. It houses an ever-increasing global population, provides the spaces where business is done and goods manufactured, and forms transport and energy infrastructures.

The climate for action

A key component of this resilient and useful material is cement, which is produced in vast quantities every year. A 2018 report by Chatham House estimated that 4 billion tpy of cement is produced, a figure that is expected to increase. All told, cement production generates around 6 – 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

As a rule of thumb, 60% of these emissions come from the calcination process, which releases CO2 from limestone, one of several ingredients heated together to form clinker. The remaining 40% comes from burning fossil fuels for the heat used in the production process.

Despite a number of innovations within the cement sector, which have reduced carbon emissions by a sizeable 21% over the last 24 years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes more focus is needed on other technologies. For example, carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) can deliver even greater reductions and protect the industry’s economic footing. Because of this, the IEA has urged governments to unlock investment through R&D funding and by adopting mandatory CO2 emissions reduction policies.

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Cement news 2018